The reason I am so passionate about helping you become a more confident and charismatic communicator is because I know the anguish of not being one. I first became obsessed with communicating when I entered first grade. I was so shy that I clammed up whenever I talked with teachers or other children. My severe shyness, or “social anxiety disorder,” lasted through college and beyond. (Attending an all girl’s high school and university didn’t help much especially when it came to talking to guys!)
About the time I graduated, my mother had a stroke so I came home to care for her and became an elementary school English teacher. I loved the kids but didn’t do much communicating with people over the age of 14! Sadly, my love life was non-existent.
When Mama died six years later, I decided that at the end of the school year, I was going to leave teaching and, to cure myself of shyness, only work in jobs which put me in constant touch with a wide variety of individuals.
My first job after teaching was extreme immersion in interacting with people! I became a flight attendant for the now defunct Pan American World Airways. Traveling around the world meeting people from every country was a great help, and fabulous fun. I credit airplanes full of people for giving me a lot of the “people skills” I had so desperately craved. But it wasn’t a job I wanted to do forever.
Still craving to be a better communicator, I decided to try something very scary—performing in front of people. Much to my total amazement, I landed a starring role in a Broadway show! But it totally bombed due to my lame performance.
After that, I’d had enough of acting and, craving more travel and connection with people, I became a Cruise Director. Making the same stupid jokes for hundreds of new passengers every week on a cruise ship was the final cure! I could officially say my shyness was a thing of the past.
I then became substitute host on New York’s #1 late night talk show and wrote my first book on communication skills. That led to my second current profession and passion, sharing my techniques with the public as a professional speaker.
Now, every time my audience applauds, a poignant image of that shy little girl floods me.
Every day we can thank whatever God we worship for living in a country and in the times when anything is possible for anyone with a passion.